A Word From the Client

A Word From the Client

Procter & Gamble veteran Rich Wilson is in a unique position to assess the results of the merger of Starcom and MediaVest and their union under the Starcom MediaVest Group banner. He has supervised the packaged-goods company’s media operations for almost three years, working closely with both SMG brands individually and with SMG as a corporate entity. A P&G veteran, he has worked in the company’s line marketing for more than two decades.

ADWEEK: How would you describe the SMG agencies’ working style?

WILSON: They view their clients as we would view a consumer. They try to understand first what our needs are and then tailor their solutions to meet the need. You often read in the papers of some media agencies taking their base clients for granted and focusing on getting new business. I haven’t noticed these folks take their eye off our ball—even when they go out and get new business.

ADWEEK: How did the merger of Starcom and MediaVest affect their work on your behalf?

WILSON: More smoothly than I anticipated. Their styles seem to mesh very well. They are both data-based in how they approach the business, and that is similar to how we view it. They have competed head-to-head for our business, and they have different strengths and weaknesses. Starcom brings a great strength in print buying; they have been our print agency of record for several years now. We gave the national TV business to MediaVest because we felt their total program was strongest of all the agencies that pitched the business. Last year, we awarded our first radio AOR to MediaVest. At the same time, we awarded the out-of-home AOR to Starcom.

ADWEEK: Why do you think the SMG shops are so successful in reviews?

WILSON: They emphasize substance over style. Their focus on delivering the goods versus a whiz-bang pitch is something advertisers respond to. The second thing is they have been investing heavily in research and systems.

ADWEEK: And they’ve had this success despite personnel shifts at the top.

WILSON: It takes an entire organization to deliver the substance, not just one person. People come and go on our side of the business, too. But there are people who have continuity in our business [at the SMG agencies]. Jack Klues is the first who comes to mind. As the leader of SMG, he provides an important source of continuity. We liked working with [former SMG COO] Bob Brennan and are pleased to see he got a high position [at Leo Burnett]. Donna Salvatore has been a very strong contributor to our business. Renetta McCann was the first person to run our print AOR, and we’re very comfortable working with her. We expect people to come and go, but there remains a lot of solid players in place.

ADWEEK: Going forward, what do your agencies have to do to continue to provide the service your require?

WILSON: We want all the agencies that work on our business to continue to stay on the cutting edge of what works. We particularly want them to approach the business in a data-based way. We want the steak.